State of Florida Archives: on Immigration


Ted Yoho: First, secure the borders; then a path to citizenship

Q: Do you support allowing illegal immigrants, who were brought to the United States as minors, to pursue citizenship without returning to their country of origin?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support the enforcement of federal immigration law by state and local police?

A: Yes. Washington has failed to lead on this issue. The first thing we must do is secure the borders. The technology and infrastructure exists to do so. The second thing we must do is issue an ID card for all non-US citizens presently in the US. We need to create a workable guest worker program that will allow migrant workers to go back and forth from their home countries to the United States without hassle. They would pay taxes into the general fund but not receive any benefits. Finally, we need to streamline the path to citizenship.

Source: Florida Congressional Election 2012 Political Courage Test Nov 1, 2012

Bill Nelson: Path to citizenship with fines & English proficiency

Mack said he opposes amnesty for illegal immigrants. Nelson said he supports a path to citizenship for them that would include paying a fine, having a clean record and learning English.
Source: Sun-Sentinel coverage of 2012 Florida Senate debate Oct 16, 2012

Connie Mack IV: No amnesty for illegal immigrants

Mack said he opposes amnesty for illegal immigrants. Nelson said he supports a path to citizenship for them that would include paying a fine, having a clean record and learning English.
Source: Sun-Sentinel coverage of 2012 Florida Senate debate Oct 16, 2012

Mitt Romney: Enforce employment laws; illegal immigrants will self-deport

Q: [to Gingrich]:We heard from Gov. Romney, that self-deportation, or illegal immigrants leaving the country voluntarily, is a possible solution. You've suggested that self-deportation is "an Obama level fantasy."

GINGRICH: I actually agree that self-deportation will occur if you're single. I would just suggest that grandmothers or grandfathers aren't likely to self-deport.

ROMNEY: Those who come into the country legally would be given an identification card, and if employers hire someone without a card, then those employers would be severely sanctioned. If you do that, people who have come here illegally won't be able to find work. And over time, those people would tend to leave the country, or self-deport. I don't think anyone is interested in going around and rounding up people around the country and deporting 11 million illegal immigrants into America. Let's focus our attention on how to make legal immigration work and stop illegal immigration.

Source: CNN 2012 GOP primary debate on the eve of Florida primary Jan 26, 2012

Mitt Romney: English should be the official language of the US

Q: Governor, you had an ad running saying that Speaker Gingrich called Spanish "the language of the ghetto." What do you mean by that?

ROMNEY: [to Gingrich]: Did you say that?

GINGRICH: No. What I said was, we want everybody to learn English. I didn't use the word "Spanish." We do not want anyone trapped in a situation where they cannot get a job, they cannot rise. And that's why I think English should be the official language of government, and that's why I think every young American should learn English.

ROMNEY: I think our position on English in our schools and in our nation is the same, which I believe English should be the official language of the United States. I also believe that in our schools, we should teach kids in English. I fought for a program to have English immersion in our schools so our kids could learn in English. I think we agree on this: Kids in this country should learn English so they can have all the jobs and all the opportunity of people who are here.

Source: CNN 2012 GOP primary debate on the eve of Florida primary Jan 26, 2012

Newt Gingrich: Use American Express & Visa to verify immigration laws

[On immigration]: You should control the border, which I have pledged to do by January 1, 2014. You should fix legal immigration in terms of visas so people can come and go more easily than doing it illegally. You should have a guest worker program, probably run by American Express, Visa or MasterCard so they minimize fraud, which the federal government won't do. And you should have much stronger employer penalties at that point because you can validate it.
Source: CNN 2012 GOP primary debate on the eve of Florida primary Jan 26, 2012

Newt Gingrich: Romney's "self-deportation" is an Obama-level fantasy

Q: You've suggested that self-deportation as advocated by Governor Romney is in your words, "An Obama level fantasy." Why?

GINGRICH: First of all, you should control the border, which I have pledged to do by January 1, 2014. You should also make deportation easier so when you deport people who shouldn't be here. I actually agree that self-deportation will occur if you're single. If you've only been here a short time. And there are millions of people who faced with that, would go back home, file for a guest worker program and might or might not come back. People who have been here a very long time who are married, who may well have children and grandchildren. And I would just suggest that grandmothers or grandfathers aren't likely to self-deport. I offered a proposal, a citizen panel to review whether or not somebody who had been here a very long time, who had family and who had an American family willing to sponsor them, should be allowed to get residency, but not citizenship.

Source: CNN 2012 GOP primary debate on the eve of Florida primary Jan 26, 2012

Newt Gingrich: Not speaking English traps people into not getting jobs

Q: Governor, you had an ad running saying that Speaker Gingrich called Spanish "the language of the ghetto." What do you mean by that?

ROMNEY: [to Gingrich]: Did you say that?

GINGRICH: No. What I said was, we want everybody to learn English. I didn't use the word "Spanish." We do not want anyone trapped in a situation where they cannot get a job, they cannot rise.

Q: Governor, that ad quoted you as saying that Speaker Gingrich called Spanish "the language of the ghetto"--we just double- checked.

ROMNEY: Let me ask the speaker a question. Did you say what the ad says or not?

GINGRICH: It's taken totally out of context.

ROMNEY: Oh, OK, he said it.

GINGRICH: No. I did not say it about Spanish. I said, in general, about all languages. We are better for children to learn English in general, period.

Source: CNN 2012 GOP primary debate on the eve of Florida primary Jan 26, 2012

Rick Santorum: We need immigration; but we need respect of the law

Q: [to Santorum]:We heard from Gov. Romney, that self-deportation, or illegal immigrants leaving the country voluntarily, is a possible solution.

SANTORUM: I actually agree with Governor Romney. The bottom line is that we need to enforce the laws in this country. We are a country of laws. My grandfather came to this country because he wanted to come to a country that respected him. And a country that respects you is a country that lives by the laws that they have. And the first act when they come to this country, is to disobey a law, it's not a particularly welcome way to enter this country. We have to have a country that not only do you respect the law when you come here, but you respect the law when you stay here. And people who have come to this country illegally have broken the law repeatedly. If you're here, unless you're here on a trust fund, you've been working illegally.

Source: CNN 2012 GOP primary debate on the eve of Florida primary Jan 26, 2012

George LeMieux: Secure our borders to be secure as a nation

America cannot be secure as a nation if we do not secure our borders. I support the right of any state, as with Arizona, to guard against illegal immigration, where the Federal government fails to do its job. Each state has the right to craft the right solution to secure its people. While in the Senate, I supported the Republican-backed 10 Point Plan for securing our borders. I support strong legislation here in Florida to require all businesses to verify immigration status.
Source: 2012 Senate campaign website, georgeforflorida.com, "Issues" Jul 16, 2011

Alexander Snitker: Legal immigrants ok; no pathway for illegal immigrants

Q: Do you support a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants?

A: No.

Q: Do you support decreasing the number of legal immigrants allowed into the country?

A: No.

Q: Do you support establishing English as the official national language?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support the enforcement of federal immigration laws by state and local police?

A: Yes.

Source: Florida Congressional Election 2010 Political Courage Test Aug 11, 2010

Bernard DeCastro: Increase family reunification visas

Question: ON FAMILY REUNIFICATION VISAS: Increasing the number of family reunification visas available to reduce lengthy waits for legal U.S. entry?

Answer: SUPPORT

Source: Florida Catholic Conference Candidate Questionnaire Aug 11, 2010

Marco Rubio: AZ law may unreasonably single out some citizens

States certainly have the right to enact policies to protect their citizens, but Arizona's policy shows the difficulty and limitations of states trying to act piecemeal to solve what is a serious federal problem. From what I have read in news reports, I do have concerns about this legislation. While I don't believe Arizona's policy was based on anything other than trying to get a handle on our broken borders, I think aspects of the law, especially that dealing with 'reasonable suspicion,' are going to put our law enforcement officers in an incredibly difficult position. It could also unreasonably single out people who are here legally, including many American citizens. Throughout American history and throughout this administration we have seen that when government is given an inch it takes a mile.
Source: Talking Points Memo coverage of 2010 Florida Senate debate Apr 27, 2010

Marco Rubio: Don't count illegal immigrants in the 2010 census

Rubio may have the experts on his side but there are political risks in Florida, just as there were when he disagreed with Crist and said illegal immigrants should not be counted in the 2010 census. That stance could cost the state millions in federal aid to cover services.
Source: St. Petersburg Times on 2010 Florida Senate debate Apr 7, 2010

Charlie Crist: Seal borders; enforce laws; send illegals to back of line

Q: In 2007, you supported the McCain immigration reform plan. Is Rubio tougher on immigration than you are?

CRIST: I don't think so. We probably agree on this issue. The first thing we need to realize about immigration reform is to make sure that we seal the border. Everything else is an academic conversation unless and until we do that. Second, we need to make sure that we're enforcing the law. Laws on the books don't mean anything if they're not being enforced. And third, those who are already her shouldn't be advantaged by the fact that they got here illegally. They should go to the back of the line, go through the regular process, what the law requires, in order to attain their citizenship.

Q: The immigration reform plan of 2007--you still think those are pretty good ideas?

CRIST: I don't think they're bad ideas. I think that those three principles, though, need to be underscored--protecting the border; enforcing the law that's on the books; and no advantages.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2010 Florida primary Senate debate Mar 28, 2010

Marco Rubio: Allow children of illegals to pay in-state college tuition

Q: You say that you're against amnesty for illegals, but critics point out that as Speaker, you didn't bring to the floor several bills that would have cracked down on illegals and on employers who hire them. And you voted for a bill that would have allowed the children of illegals to pay the same college tuition as in-state residents.

RUBIO: The only place those bills ever got a hearing was on the floor of the House, and they didn't advance because the Senate didn't want to advance them. Gov. Crist didn't have an interest in them as well.

CRIST: I had an interest in them. How can you say what my interest was?

RUBIO: Well, I never saw you speak out.

Q: But you didn't bring several of these bills to the floor?

RUBIO: Well, they never go out of their committees.

Q: Some critics say you could have done more.

RUBIO: Well, we gave it a hearing. The support wasn't there among the membership at the time, & they were focused at that time on some very serious challenges in a 60-day session.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2010 Florida primary Senate debate Mar 28, 2010

Marco Rubio: No amnesty in any form, not even back-of-the-line

The Republican Party, unfortunately, has been cast as the anti-illegal immigration party. It is not the anti-illegal immigration party. It is the pro-legal immigration party.

Having a legal immigration system that works begins with border security. That's not enough; about 1/3 of the folks in this country illegally enter legally & they overstay visas. So we've got to deal with that issue as well.

We've got to deal with the employment aspect of it, because the vast majority of people who enter thi country illegally do so in search of jobs, and jobs are being provided to them. So we need some level of verification system so that employers are required to verify the employment status of their folks.

As far as amnesty, that's where the governor and I disagree. He would have voted for the McCain plan. I think that plan is wrong. If you grant amnesty, in any form, whether it's back of the line or so forth, you will destroy any chance we will ever have of having a legal immigration system that works.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2010 Florida primary Senate debate Mar 28, 2010

Bernard DeCastro: Supports a strong immigration policy

His stance on the issues are similar to those of the 9/12 followers, he is for sovereignty, limited government, term limits for Congress, closing our dependence for foreign oil, the Fair Tax, a strong immigration policy, he is Pro-life, and preserving our 2nd Amendment right to bear arms.
Source: Florida 9/12 Candidate survey, 912candidates.org Jun 30, 2009

Rudy Giuliani: A special policy for Cuban immigrants fleeing Castro

Q: Why a special policy for a Cuban immigrant?

A: Well, of course, this was developed in the 1960s, because the longest dictatorship, I believe, in the modern world, is the one of Fidel Castro. The presumption is that if youíre fleeing Fidel Castro, given decades and decades of murder, oppression--including, most recently, the way he cracked down on Brothers to the Rescue, all of these things--thereís a presumption in the immigration law that if youíre fleeing Fidel Castro, youíre fleeing political persecution. In every other situation, you have to prove it. If you can prove that youíre fleeing political persecution, youíll be accepted. Weíve had this exception now for, what, for 40 years? And I think itís a fair one, given the history of Castro, which is a pretty unusual one. And he is the longest-standing dictator, certainly in this hemisphere, I believe in the world.

Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida Jan 24, 2008

Rudy Giuliani: Support tamper-proof ID card and path to citizenship

The core of my plan on immigration is to stop illegal immigration at the border with a BorderStat system, with technology, with an increased Border Patrol. We can stop illegal immigration if we stop it right at the border. We should develop a tamper-proo ID card for people who want to come into the US. We need to teach new behavior. The new behavior is, if you want to come into the US, you have to identify yourself. You canít get into most countries without identifying yourself. If youíve got the tamper-proof ID card, youíd be allowed to work, pay taxes, get online, become a citizen, follow the rules, but then at the end of the line, youíd have to be able to read, write and speak English. If you speak a second language or a third language or a fourth language, thatís great. The US has to be a country that has facility with more languages, given the global economy we live in. But the focus has to be on being able to read, write and speak English if you want to be a citizen.
Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida Jan 24, 2008

Fred Thompson: Pledges to veto any immigration bill that involves amnesty

Q: Will you pledge tonight, if elected president, to veto any immigration bill that involves amnesty for those that have come here illegally?

A: Yes, I pledge that. A nation that cannot and will not defend its own borders will not forever remain a sovereign nation. And itís unfair.

Source: 2007 GOP YouTube debate in St. Petersburg, Florida Nov 28, 2007

John McCain: Illegal immigrants are Godís children as well

Q: Will you pledge to veto any immigration bill that involves amnesty?

A: Yes, of course, and we never proposed amnesty. But then youíve still got two other aspects of this issue that have to be resolved as well. We need to sit down as Americans and recognize these are Godís children as well. And they need some protection under the law; they need some of our love and compassion. I want to assure you that Iíll enforce the borders first. Weíll solve this immigration problem.

Source: 2007 GOP YouTube debate in St. Petersburg, Florida Nov 28, 2007

Mitt Romney: Illegal immigrants shouldnít get tuition break in schools

Q: [With regards to how MA under your governership allowed sanctuary cities], will you continue to aid illegal aliens?

A: Let me tell you what I did as governor. I said no to driverís licenses for illegals. I said, number two, weíre going to make sure that those that come here donít get a tuition break in our schools, which I disagree with other folks on that one. Number three, I applied to have our state police enforce the immigration laws in May, seven months before I was out of office.

Source: 2007 GOP YouTube debate in St. Petersburg, Florida Nov 28, 2007

Rudy Giuliani: BorderStat & virtual fence: just stop people from coming in

Q: Will you continue to aid and abet the flight of illegal aliens into this country?

A: The federal policies werenít working, stopping people coming into the United States. If I were president of the United States, I could do something about that by deploying a fence, by deploying a virtual fence, by having a BorderStat system like my COMSTAT system that brought down crime in New York, and just stopping people from coming in, and then having a tamper-proof ID card.

Source: 2007 GOP YouTube debate in St. Petersburg, Florida Nov 28, 2007

Tom Tancredo: Iím not going to aid any more immigration

Q: What will you do to help ensure guest workers continue to come here?

A: Iím not going to aid any more immigration into this country. I reject the idea, categorically, that there are jobs that, quote, ďNo American will take.Ē But am I going to feel sorry if a business has to increase its wages in order for somebody in this country to make a good living? No, I donít feel sorry about that and I wonít apologize for it for a moment. And there are plenty of Americans who will do those jobs.

Source: 2007 GOP YouTube debate in St. Petersburg, Florida Nov 28, 2007

Fred Thompson: Voted for law to abolish sanctuary cities

THOMPSON: I voted for and we passed an anti-sanctuary city bill, outlawed them. Mayor Giuliani went to court, filed suit himself to overturn our abolition of sanctuary cities. And, fortunately, he lost.

GIULIANI: New York City had a policy of allowing people who are illegal immigrants to report crime and to put their children in school. Otherwise, we reported every single illegal immigrant that committed a crime. The results were pretty darn good. I brought down crime by over 60%. I brought down homicide by 67%. I had the most legal city in the country. And I took the crime capital of America and I turned it into the safest large city in the country. The senator has never had executive responsibility. Heís never had the weight of peopleís safety and security on his shoulders. I have. And I think I out-performed any expectations.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate in Orlando, Florida Oct 21, 2007

Rudy Giuliani: Sanctuary city policy helped make NYC most legal city in US

THOMPSON: I voted for and we passed an anti-sanctuary city bill, outlawed them. Mayor Giuliani went to court, filed suit himself to overturn our abolition of sanctuary cities. And, fortunately, he lost.

GIULIANI: New York City had a policy of allowing people who are illegal immigrants to report crime and to put their children in school. Otherwise, we reported every single illegal immigrant that committed a crime. The results were pretty darn good. I brought down crime by over 60%. I brought down homicide by 67%. I had the most legal city in the country. And I took the crime capital of America and I turned it into the safest large city in the country. The senator has never had executive responsibility. Heís never had the weight of peopleís safety and security on his shoulders. I have. And I think I out-performed any expectations.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate in Orlando, Florida Oct 21, 2007

Tim Mahoney: Secure our borders & enforce immigration laws

Source: 2006 House campaign website, timmahoneyforflorida.com Nov 7, 2006

Betty Castor: Expedite citizenship for legal immigrants on active duty

Q: Do you support any changes in immigration law?

CASTOR: America is a nation of immigrants, and we should be open to those who come here legally to pursue their dreams. I would expedite citizenship for legal immigrants who are serving on active duty in the military. We need to make the system of asylum fair and equitable for unique groups like Haitians and Cubans, who are escaping repressive regimes. We must also ensure our borders are secure. Border security is no longer just an issue of immigration, itís crucial to our fight against terror.

MARTINEZ: Our immigration policy should first and foremost ensure the security of our nation and those individuals posing a terrorist threat should be prevented from entering our country. I strongly oppose amnesty for illegal aliens.

Source: Florida Senate Debate, Q&A by Associated Press Oct 24, 2004

Mel Martinez: Strongly oppose amnesty for illegal aliens

Q: Do you support any changes in immigration law?

CASTOR: America is a nation of immigrants, and we should be open to those who come here legally to pursue their dreams. I would expedite citizenship for legal immigrants who are serving on active duty in the military. We need to make the system of asylum fair and equitable for unique groups like Haitians and Cubans, who are escaping repressive regimes. We must also ensure our borders are secure. Border security is no longer just an issue of immigration, itís crucial to our fight against terror.

MARTINEZ: Our immigration policy should first and foremost ensure the security of our nation and those individuals posing a terrorist threat should be prevented from entering our country. I strongly oppose amnesty for illegal aliens.

Source: Florida Senate Debate, Q&A by Associated Press Oct 24, 2004

Andy Martin: Support official English; decrease immigration numbers

Source: 2000 Florida Congressional National Political Awareness Test Nov 1, 2000

  • The above quotations are from State of Florida Politicians: Archives.
  • Click here for definitions & background information on Immigration.
  • Click here for other issues (main summary page).
2016 Presidential contenders on Immigration:
  Democrats:
Secy.Hillary Clinton(NY)
V.P.Joe Biden(DE)
Gov.Andrew Cuomo(NY)
Mayor Rahm Emanuel(IL)
Gov.Martin O`Malley(MD)

Republicans:
Amb.John Bolton(MD)
Gov.Jeb Bush(FL)
Dr.Ben Carson(MD)
Gov.Chris Christie(NJ)
Sen.Ted Cruz(TX)
Gov.Mike Huckabee(AR)
Gov.Jon Huntsman(UT)
Gov.Bobby Jindal(LA)
Rep.Peter King(NY)
Gov.Sarah Palin(AK)
Sen.Rand Paul(KY)
Gov.Rick Perry(TX)
Sen.Rob Portman(OH)
Secy.Condi Rice(CA)
Sen.Marco Rubio(FL)
Rep.Paul Ryan(WI)
Sen.Rick Santorum(PA)
2016 Third Party Candidates:
Mayor Michael Bloomberg(I-NYC)
Gov.Gary Johnson(L-NM)
Donald Trump(NY)
Gov.Jesse Ventura(I-MN)
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Page last updated: Mar 29, 2014